Tag Archives: Pamela Clare

SNAHM Guest: Pamela Clare

Hi friends! Time flies, yes? Today we have Pamela Clare is visiting with us today, and I’m so excited to have her share. I don’t know if you’ve ever read her I-Team stories, but if not, you really have to, and especially don’t skip book 1 – Extreme Exposure – which is one of my favorites. Anyway, what a timely post, and lovely yet painful – like so much of Native American history.

Naked EdgeAs a writer of Native descent, I’ve tried to cover Native issues in ways that make them accessible to the outside world. As a reporter, I spent years traveling back and forth to the Navajo and Lakota reservations covering a range of issues from forced relocations to the struggles of traditional native people to hold onto their culture and languages. As a fiction writer, I put my years of reporting on these topics into Naked Edge (I-Team #4).

In that story, I tried to show how Native people who live in urban areas struggle to hold onto their traditions and their sacred sites. Katherine James was the heroine of that story. Half Navajo, she fights to find her place in the world and among her people.

Many of the events in that story were inspired by real life—the raid on the inipi (sweat lodge), for example. I was able to touch on a host of topic that were important for me—how hard it can be to walk the Red Road in an urban area, the exploitation of sacred sites and Native artifacts, and so on.

Kat was a special character to write, the only character I’ve written in a contemporary novel whose spiritual beliefs were essential to the story. I had to be careful in doing that because pop culture over-spiritualizes Native people and Native culture. I wanted to make her real. Not only did I want her to be a modern Indian woman; I wanted her specifically to be Diné.

I adored her, and fans of the I-Team series adored her, too.

With Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas, I was able to get back inside all of my characters’ heads again, including Kat’s. It’s an ensemble story, which made it the perfect farewell to the I-Team series.

Here’s an overview of the story:

Dead by Midnight Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narcoterrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team in a desperate bid to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…

Dead by Midnight.

Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.

In Dead by Midnight, Kat is heavily pregnant and goes into labor while being held hostage. Her captors are so cruel that her suffering means nothing to them. They refuse to release her, leaving her to struggle through labor in the worst of conditions.

I didn’t plan to go into Diné history when I wrote her scenes, but I was so into her thoughts and into her suffering that my mind flashed to The Long Walk, an event that holds the same place the hearts of Navajos that the Trail of Tears does in the hearts of the Cherokee.

Here’s an excerpt from that part of the story:

“I don’t want them to hurt my baby.”

Joaquin gave her hand a squeeze. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

Tears filled her eyes. “I wish I were on the dinétah.”

Both Alissa and Nakai had been born on the Navajo reservation in a clinic about an hour’s drive from her grandmother’s homesite. She’d felt safe there, surrounded by Gabe’s love and strengthened by her grandmother’s reassurances and prayers.

Sophie stroked her hair. “Maybe if you pretended you were home it would help.”

Kat’s temper flashed. “How can I do that lying on this floor surrounded by men with guns?”

And then it hit her.

Hwéeldi.

The Long Walk.

All Diné people knew the story. The US Army had forced the Navajo to leave their homes and walk 300 miles to captivity at Bosque Redondo, a place they called Fort Sumner. Many Diné had died along the way of exhaustion, thirst, starvation, disease. Grandma Alice’s great-grandmother had survived the Long Walk, but her great-grandmother’s pregnant sister had not. She’d been shot and killed by a soldier when she’d gone into labor and stopped to give birth.

This wasn’t the Long Walk, but Kat was a captive. Just like that soldier, her captors didn’t care what became of her or her baby.

Another contraction began to build—and Kat began to sing quietly to herself. At first she wasn’t even aware she was doing it, the words coming from somewhere inside her. Then she realized she was singing a traditional healing song, one she’d heard her uncle and grandfather sing when she was a little girl.

As pain tightened its grip around her, the walls of the Grand Ballroom faded, becoming the red mesas that surrounded Grandma Alice’s hogaan at K’ai’bii’tó. She latched onto the image of her home, felt Gabe standing there beside her, and Alissa and Nakai, too, the new baby out of her body and in her arms. Their spirits were together even if their bodies were not.

She thought of the young women who’d made the Long Walk, carrying babies on their hips or pregnant. She thought of another mother, one who’d lived long ago, who’d had no choice but to give birth in a pen for animals and place her newborn in a manger. Their strength became her strength.

Even after the contraction faded, she kept singing. Words had power, and the words of her people had come to her to help her through this.

~*~*~*~*~
Readers, who are eating up this story and giving it rave reviews, have asked me about the Long Walk and whether what Kat is remembering is true, and sadly it is. There were stories from survivors about women going into labor and being shot by soldiers, who didn’t care at all about them or their babies and who were, in fact, engaged in an attempt at extermination. It’s a horrible chapter in US history, one you don’t read about in the history books. And though I never write books to give history lessons, this lesson fit the story.

Of course, Kat’s story has a much happier ending than the poor women who died on the Long Walk. She has Gabe quite literally watching over her…

It’s strange to be leaving these characters I love so much behind, but there are other stories to write, other adventures to take. Readers are giving Dead by Midnight rave reviews, and that’s a great place to end any series.

With many thanks to the thousands of readers whose loyalty to the I-Team made writing these stories such a joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pamela Clare

There’s so much I’ve been learning – even recently about Native American history, and I’m glad these stories – albeit painful – are being told. They’re important.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Pamela Clare

Hi friends! Can you believe that it’s December? I can’t. This year has flown by. I had such high hopes for 2012. It was… well, a year. So I’ll transfer my high hopes to 2013. But in the meantime, don’t you worry, because at least in the ALBTALBS world I’ve got some semblance of control. (Although maybe that should make you fret…) My point is though that we’ve got a lot of fun and good things ahead. AHOY!

Erm, and now that I’ve scared Pamela Clare and all her readers away… you know. That’s okay. She was super awesome and a good sport because I’m losing my mind with “sick brain” and did this all rather last minute. (And she was so kind about it! It’s sad I’m so pleasantly surprised to see a nice author response…) But anyway, Pamela Clare is awesome. She also wrote one of my favorite romances ever. Extreme Exposure. (Read it – you’ll see. And if you don’t, your loss. More Reece for me!)

Without further ado… (since I got to it so quickly and all…) Ms. Clare’s non-traditional, traditional ALBTALBS interview! \o/

1. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
I’ve got two boys. When they were little, they fought a lot. I remember being on a car trip and being at my wit’s end. I ended up shouting, “If the two of you don’t stop fighting and be quiet right now, I’m going to take your Play Station and throw it out the window when we get home!” That shut them right up.

2. Immediate response: what is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you? [I know you were a journalist so I can imagine you’ve got a number of them…]
Immediate response? OK. My immediate response is so many that I can’t even single one out. Being an exchange student and living abroad. Staying overnight in jail as a bogus felony arrest to better understand women in prison. Traveling to the Navajo reservation to cover forced relocations there. Those three stand out.

3. What’s your favorite drink? (alcoholic, and non-alcoholic)
WATER! I don’t always drink alcoholic beverages, but when I do, I prefer pinot — grigio or noir.

4. What is your favorite TV show? now your favorite guilty pleasure secret shame show. i’m talking real housewives, the Kardashians, Bridalplasty, Jersey Shore, etc. *shudders*
I don’t have television. I got rid of it years ago. I’ve never seen Seinfeld, Real Housewives, Survivor, Jersey Shore, none of it. I can’t fathom why anyone thinks the Kardashians are interesting. I love Star Trek, Firefly, Castle, Game of Thrones, True Blood and Hawaii Five-0, which I watch on DVD.

5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Mutton stew prepared for me by a very kind family on Black Mesa. In the stew, I found one of the slaughtered sheep’s teeth. At least I hope it was one of the sheep’s teeth.

6. Which would you most like to go to? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? (or another ancient place?) Why?
ROME! I studied Latin for 10 years and my undergraduate and graduate work were in archaeology, focusing on Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Minoan and Cycladic cultures (Crete, etc.) I’d choose Rome over Greece because women were treated terribly in ancient Greece.

7. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least?
Sleeping Beauty. I get lots of rest and wake up to find a prince kissing me. That works. Snow White. Too scary!

8. When did you get your first aol screen name? Do you remember what it was?
Never had one. 🙂 I’m a bit old fashioned. No smart phone either. No cable television.

9. What author promo has been most effective for you? (As far as you can tell.)
I think word of mouth has been the most helpful for me. Social media after that. Thanks to the Internet, it’s so easy to connect with people who share our interests.

10. Have you ever owned any crazy pets? What kind(s)? If you’ve never had a pet, which exotic one would you consider?
I had a zoo in my bedroom as a teenager: a mouse, several guinea pigs, a cat and a bird. Nothing too crazy. I have been to wildlife refuges where I was able to pet, among other things, a mountain lion. They’re the biggest of the cats that purr, and it purred up a storm. It sounded like a little motor. It’s fur was very rough, not soft at all. I also got to bottle feed a 400-pound male Bengal tiger. He was seven feet tall when he reared up on his hind legs. He drank the bottle very quickly and almost knocked me onto my butt just by brushing me with his shoulder when he passed by me. I had tiger slobber on my shirt, and I thought that was pretty damned cool! … I’m so jealous I think I might need to stop the interview right here.

(I needed a moment)

11. What items have to be close by when writing & not just the sensible stuff like research notes, but the other perhaps slightly goofy stuff (bowl of m&ms, stuffed animal, stress ball, pot of coffee).
Vanilla latte, chocolate (sometimes M&Ms — I like the almond variety), lip balm, lots of pens (not sure why), and my earbuds. I listen to a LOT of music.

12. How do you feel about the dentist?
I love my dentist. She’s wonderful. I haven’t had a cavity since I was 18. Maybe that’s why I love her. I just go in for cleanings and come home. 🙂

13. What is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have?
I would love to be able to teleport myself wherever I wanted to be in the world. That would cut down on travel time, and I’d be able to hang with my friends and readers in Europe and be home in time to have dinner with my kids. As for the super-power I’d like LEAST to have… Body odor that kills?

14. What was your worst traveling mishap ever? Or most constant one? (Did your luggage get stolen by a monkey? Is the flight canceled every time as soon as your ride drives away from the airport?)
Oh, God! I lost my driver’s license in the Philly airport in the middle of a two-stop flight. The people in the airport were exceptionally unhelpful. I’ve never met airport staff who were more rude. But the TSA folks were great. I really slowed down my trip. Can you imagine having to say to TSA, “I am me. Yes, really, I am. Would I lie to you?” I was able to use my social security card and my Colorado press card, together with answering a bunch of questions, to get on my flight. I am now VERY careful with my driver’s license. I don’t want to do that again!!!

Annnnd somehow, a question slipped by. And based on her other answers – I don’t think Ms. Clare meant to miss it. I’ll ask it in the comments. 😉 Maybe. I’m curious though – what do YOU want to ask her? As you see, anything goes. Incidentally, all the book covers you see here are linked to the books, so feel free to check them out, and ask Pamela any questions you have.

OH! And how could I forget? The main draw for some of you… 😉 up for grabs? One lucky commenter gets her (or his!) choice of either an audiobook version of *Hard Evidence or a signed copy of Defiant.

*N.B. neither of which are pictured. I just like keeping you guys on your toes 😉